1. Introduction

Managing natural hazard risk is inherent in agriculture, given the sector’s reliance on climate and weather conditions and the natural resource base. However, more frequent and intense natural hazards,1 and the compounding and systemic nature of that risk, pose a challenge for the sector – for farmers in developing countries, who often bear the brunt of natural hazard impacts (FAO, 2021[1]), but also for farmers in OECD countries. Around the world, recurrent and more severe natural hazards are challenging even experienced and innovative farm managers. More frequent and intense natural hazard-induced disasters (NHID) – implying higher costs in terms of direct impacts on agriculture, as well as from the cascading effects of disruptions to farm operations and in related sectors – also present a policy challenge for governments, who face a greater burden if a “business-as-usual” approach continues for disaster risk management2 (DRM) in agriculture (OECD, 2020[2]).

These trends in natural hazard risks and impacts underscore the need for DRM frameworks that build agricultural resilience, defined here as the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, respond, recover from, and more successfully adapt and transform in response to natural hazards (and other risks) (OECD, 2020[2]). Recognising this, in 2017, G7 Agriculture Ministers in Bergamo noted the effects of natural hazards on farmers’ lives, agro-food systems, agricultural production and productivity in regions all over the world, and that climate change is projected to amplify many of these impacts. Ministers also noted the importance of strengthening the resilience of farmers to natural hazards (G7 Agriculture Ministers, 2017[3]).

In this context, the joint OECD-FAO project on Building agricultural resilience to natural disasters: Insights from country case studies examines DRM frameworks in seven countries – Chile, Italy, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, Turkey and the United States – to identify what governments and agricultural sector stakeholders can do to build the resilience of farmers and the agricultural sector to NHID.3 This report explores the impacts of NHID on agriculture – and the agricultural sectors of the seven case study countries in particular – and identifies good practices for building agricultural resilience in the seven case study countries. These include policy measures, governance arrangements, on-farm strategies and other initiatives that provide incentives for, or support the capacities of public and private stakeholders to prepare and plan for NHID, absorb and recover from their impacts, and to adapt and transform in order to increase resilience to future disaster risks.

The report is structured as follows. Chapter 2 provides a high-level overview of trends in NHID over recent decades, and the impacts (losses and damages) on agriculture. It shows that the number of NHID, including geophysical, hydrological, meteorological and biological disasters (such as outbreaks of animal and plant pests and diseases) have steadily risen in the last few decades, and climate change is expected to further increase the frequency and intensity of weather- and climate- related NHID. It also explores the impacts of NHID on agricultural sectors in different regions, including the significant impacts on developing countries. Finally, the chapter highlights the key elements of DRM – disaster risk governance; risk identification, assessment and awareness; prevention and mitigation; risk preparedness; response and crisis management; and recovery and reconstruction – and how they can contribute to building agricultural resilience.

Chapter 3 sets out the approach that was used to identify good practices at all stages of the DRM cycle in the seven case study countries, which was based on principles and recommendations in key international frameworks for managing the risks posed by disasters. The chapter summarises the key principles and recommendations from those frameworks – the OECD’s Holistic Approach to Risk Management for Resilience in Agriculture; the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction; the OECD Recommendation on the Governance of Critical Risks; and the Joint Framework for Strengthening resilience for food security and nutrition of the Rome-based Agencies. It then proposes four Principles for Effective Disaster Risk Management for Resilience.

Chapter 4 synthesises the main insights from seven country case studies. It highlights the innovative policy measures, governance arrangements and on-farm strategies that governments, farmers and other agricultural sector stakeholders are using to increase the sector’s resilience to NHID in the seven countries – Chile, Italy, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, Turkey and the United States. It also offers recommendations for how countries can shift from an approach that emphasises coping with the impacts of NHID, to being better prepared ex ante to prevent, mitigate and recover from them, and to adapt and transform in order to be better placed to manage future natural hazards risks.

Finally, Chapters 5-11 summarise the key insights and good practices from the seven country case studies. Six of the case studies focus on a specific natural hazard in order to explore how different policy measures, governance arrangements, on-farm strategies and other initiatives contribute to building resilience. The Italy, Namibia and Turkey case studies focus on drought, whereas Japan, New Zealand and the United States case studies focus on floods and water-related natural hazards as a result of severe storms or heavy rain events. The Chile case study focuses more generally on climate-related risks.


[4] Baldwin, K. and F. Casalini (2021), “Building the resilience of Italy’s agricultural sector to drought”, OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 158, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/799f1ad3-en.

[6] Casalini, F., M. Bagherzadeh and E. Gray (2021), “Building the resilience of New Zealand’s agricultural sector to floods”, OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 160, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/dd62d270-en.

[8] FAO (2021), Building agricultural resilience to animal pests and diseases in Namibia, FAO Publications, Rome.

[9] FAO (2021), Building Resilience to Natural Hazard-Induced Disasters in the Agriculture Sector: Chilean case study, FAO Publications, Rome.

[1] FAO (2021), The impact of disasters and crises on agriculture and food security: 2021, FAO, Rome, https://doi.org/10.4060/cb3673en.

[3] G7 Agriculture Ministers (2017), G7 Bergamo Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting Communiqué 14-15 October 2017 - Empowering Farmers, Developing Rural Areas and Enhancing Cooperation to Feed the Planet, http://www.g7italy.it/en/documenti-ministeriali.

[7] Gray, E. and K. Baldwin (2021), “Building the resilience of the United States’ agricultural sector to extreme floods”, OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 161, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/edb6494b-en.

[12] OECD (2021), “Building agricultural resilience to natural hazard-induced disasters: Turkey case study”, OECD internal document, Paris.

[2] OECD (2020), Strengthening Agricultural Resilience in the Face of Multiple Risks, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/2250453e-en.

[5] Shigemitsu, M. and E. Gray (2021), “Building the resilience of Japan’s agricultural sector to typhoons and heavy rain”, OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 159, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/4ed1ee2c-en.

[10] UNISDR (2016), Report of the open-ended intergovernmental expert working group on indicators and terminology relating to disaster risk reduction, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), https://www.preventionweb.net/files/50683_oiewgreportenglish.pdf.

[11] UNISDR and CRED (2015), The Human Cost of Weather-Related Disasters, 1995-2015, NISDR, Geneva, and CRED, Louvain,, https://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/publications/46796.


← 1. According to UNDRR (formerly UNISDR), a hazard is a “dangerous phenomenon, substance, human activity or condition that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage”. Hazards of natural origin arise from a variety of sources, including: geological (e.g. earthquakes), climatological (e.g. droughts), meteorological (e.g. storms), biological (e.g. animal diseases, insect infestations or epidemics) and hydrological (e.g. floods) sources (UNISDR and CRED, 2015[11]). Hazards become disasters when they cause great damage, destruction and human suffering.

← 2. UNISDR (2016[10]) defines disaster risk management as the application of disaster risk reduction policies and strategies to prevent new disaster risk, reduce existing disaster risk and manage residual risk, contributing to the strengthening of resilience and reduction of disaster losses.

← 3. See Baldwin and Casalini (2021[4]), Shigemitsu and Gray (2021[5]), Casalini, Bagherzadeh and Gray (2021[6]), OECD (2021[12]), Gray and Baldwin (2021[7]), and FAO (2021[8]) (2021[9]) for the full case studies;

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